By Kalwinder Kaur
Northrop Grumman and L-3 MAS declared their intent to join forces on a variant of the Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed by Northrop Grumman to help Canada to better handle the continuous surveillance of its Arctic territories.
The system was named ‘Polar Hawk’. It has been specially designed to remain up in the air for extended time during harsh weather conditions across the area of open water environments in the Arctic as well as Earth's surface monitoring land, ice, and littoral.
According to VP and General Manager for Northrop Grumman's unmanned systems business, Duke Dufresne said that Northrop Grumman and L-3 MAS have joined together to create a surveillance system that will comply with the requirements stated in the Canada First Defence Strategy. The operational features of Polar Hawk have been uniquely adopted to expand Canada's current surveillance capabilities. It is also capable of enlarging its target to patrol large geographical areas in order to investigate the nation's widespread Arctic region from coast-to-coast through a single mission.
Polar Hawk can fly at 60,000 ft high through commercial air traffic and complex weather. It can extend over 22,000 km and capable of staying airborne for over 33 hours, day and night in any weather condition.
Polar Hawk can be integrated with a variety of instrumentation for carrying out science and environmental missions, as shown by NASA based on earlier versions of the Global Hawk UAS extending to 85 degrees north latitude. It can also achieve surveillance payloads and can be used for carrying out humanitarian missions.